By Gabriel Tan at the Jalan Besar Stadium
Stags captain Aleksandar Duric put his side in front in the 29th minute when he glanced home a cross from Ahmad Latiff, before Sead Hadzibulic doubled their lead 11 minutes before the break after prodding the ball home from close range.
And despite continuing their dominance in the second half, Tampines were unable to add to their tally due to a number of fine saves from Lionel Lewis, although they had done enough to pick up all three points.
Having missed a glorious opportunity to go top of the table last Saturday when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Hougang United, Thursday's game presented Tampines with another chance to take pole position in the title race, especially with leaders Albirex Niigata not in action this week.
Having watched his side struggle to adapt to a 4-4-2 formation last weekend as they were dominated by the Cheetahs, Stags coach Tay Peng Kee curiously opted to revert to the 3-5-2 his predecessor Steven Tan had favoured; a system which he had been very critical of.
And his players' familiarity with the tactics certainly showed early on as they looked the livelier of the two sides and dominated proceedings, giving their opponents no time at all to settle on the ball.
Ten minutes in, Tampines had their first sighting at goal when Latiff failed to keep a snapshot on target from the edge of the area, before Sofiyan Abdul Hamid put in a vital block to deny Hadzibulic a shooting chance a minute later, after Duric had ghosted past Rosman Sulaiman and played the ball into the box.
While Home were struggling to maintain possession of the ball, they did look threatening from set-pieces and Kenji Arai was extremely unlucky not to fire his side ahead in the 14th minute, after he met a good delivery from Shi Jiayi with a sweetly-struck volley that came smashing back off the crossbar.
However, the Tampines pressure was beginning to have its desired effect as the the Protectors regularly gave away the ball in dangerous areas and, in the 29th minute, they duly took the lead when Latiff, who had been their liveliest player, burst past Masrezwan Masturi down the right and floated in a perfect cross onto the head of Duric, who made no mistake in guiding his effort into the bottom corner.
Five minutes later, the Stags once again went down the right and, having been afforded acres of space, Imran Sahib proceeded to float a pinpoint cross beyond the reach of Lewis to the far post. Duric was once again perfectly positioned to meet the delivery and guided the ball towards the unguarded net, where Hadzibulic stabbed it over the line for good measure to double his side's lead.
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Tampines were now firmly in control of the game and were unlucky not to add another on the stroke of halftime, when Mustafic Fahrudin sent a header just wide after Lewis had misjudged a corner from Gligor Gligorov.
Three minutes after the break, Mustafic came close again when he forced the Protectors custodian into a flying save with a 20-yard drive, before Hadzibulic just failed to pick out an unmarked Duric inside the area after he was played clean through down the right by a quickly-taken freekick from Latiff.
Lewis was called into action again in the 53rd minute when he tipped a low shot by Duric just wide of the far post, but the Stags then had Ismadi Mukhtar to thank six minutes later when he made a timely clearance before Firdaus Idros could reach the ball, after Frederic Mendy had forced his way down the left and played in a cross.
Seven minutes later, the wing-back made another crucial intervention after Sasa Dreven had unconvincingly parried a Qiu Li effort back to the danger zone, flicking the ball away from the lurking Arai.
But despite the couple of scares, the Stags' lead never really looked in threat and they could have added a deserving third five minutes from time when Duric was picked out inside the area and sent a half-volley towards goal, only to once again be denied by Lewis, who put in an inspired display in the second half.
Nonetheless, he was one of the few Home players who could walk off with his head held high and as the final whistle blew, the joy of the Stags was clear for all to see as they celebrated their rise to the top of the table.
Tampines Rovers: Sasa Dreven, Anaz Hadee, Benoit Croissant, Jufri Taha, Imran Sahib, Mustafic Fahrudin, Gligor Gligorov, Ismadi Mukhtar (Jamil Ali 84'), Ahmad Latiff, Sead Hadzibulic (Noh Alam Shah 90'), Aleksandar Duric.
Home United: Lionel Lewis, Rosman Sulaiman (Firdaus Idros 35'), Sofiyan Abdul Hamid (Indra Sahdan Daud 59'), Kenji Arai, Masrezwan Masturi, Nor Azli Yusoff, Shi Jiayi, Franklin Anzite, Shotaro Ihata, Qiu Li, Frederic Mendy.